Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Finishes

I've been a bit more productive than anticipated, which is always a good thing.

You know the saying that "it takes a village?" Well this quilt took a small village to complete it. Jackie pieces the blocks, Jerry sewed the quilt top, and I quilted and bound it. It is an adorable little quilt and I love the pops of color. The pattern is called It's Five to Ten, by Far-Flung Quilts


I made Sadie's mermaid tail and LOVE how this turned out. I'm pretty sure she is going to LOVE this too.



I am so pleased with the scale like fabric and how the tail quilted up. The scale and tail fabrics are a stretchy performance fabric and I had never worked with them before. I didn't have trouble, but I did use a walking foot and I pinned and used wonder clips a lot. I lined the entire thing with a fleece that was the perfect color for this. I used the fleece for the cuff at the top also, because I thought that would feel nice and snuggly against Sadie's face.


It's fun how the fabric changes color, depending on how the light hits it. 



I have a feeling that I'll be making a few more of these. To mix it up a bit, I'm thinking about a dolphin, whale, and shark. :-)

I've been able to finish up a few other items, but I don't have pictures. I'll get those taken soon and post them later this weekend or early next week.

Check out what other quilters have been working on lately.

Go to Sarah's

Monday, September 26, 2016

Design Wall Monday

I have been very busy continuing to play catch up here and I'm not doing too bad so far. I really want to get a bit more caught up before I begin my long-term sub assignment late next month. There are an awful lot of projects that I need to do, so I'll just keep chugging along. Some of the projects are UFOs, while others are gifts or promised things. I'll just keep plugging along and am sure it will all work out well.

Remember the quilts I made for my friend's chemo nurses? I made one more, for a nurse who wasn't really forgotten about, but she had been gone so she didn't get put on the list. Her quilt is done and ready for delivery. (Sorry for the crappy picture.)


I also had to do some fixing on two of the other quilts. All of the quilts have names embroidered on them. Well, I guess we should have tripled checked spellings because two of the names have unique spellings and I had to rip out the embroidery, redo it, and then put the quilt back together. Because I had embroidered on just the quilt top, I actually had to rip out binding and quilting before I could get to the embroidered area. I then had to take a couple of blocks apart and then redo and add the embroidery back in. YUCK! On one of the quilts, the embroider spanned two pieced blocks and that was a real pain. It actually took just about as long to fix this as it did to construct the original quilt top. Lesson learned!

And because I know myself and recognize that if all I was doing was working on UFO projects I'd go bonkers, I cut strips for a quilt I've been wanting to make for Jack. I pieced the strips and am piecing the blocks as a leader and ender project.


I am using stash for this quilt and thought I would be happy with only making 20 blocks and then adding borders, but I've decided that won't work. I don't have enough of the light fabric to make this quilt with a 5 x 7 layout and the 4 x 5 layout is going to bother me. Do you notice that in the top row, if I only have four blocks, the first and last blocks will not be symmetrical? In the first block, the dark is on the top but in the last block it is on the sides. I know that is pretty minor, but it will bother me so I had to make an adjustment. 

My first thought was to finish this as planned and give it away, but then I thought that I really like these fabrics and want to make it work somehow.

I decided to add a third fabric and make some blocks with yellow instead of the light grey. I like how this is working so far. I didn't really doubt that I would like it because I have always liked yellow and grey together.  


I wasn't going to show this to Jack (it was going to be a surprise quilt), but decided that I would to get his thoughts on adding the yellow. He likes it and is leaning toward adding two vertical columns of yellow blocks (second and fourth columns) instead of the random placement I had thought about. I have more of the original blocks to piece and will make those before I sew more yellow blocks. Since it's his quilt, I'll let Jack make the decision on how this will be laid out.

Unfortunately, I probably won't be working on this very much over the next week because of a very busy schedule, but I'm ok with that. It fills my need to work on something new, while finishing something old. :-)

What are you working on today?

For inspiration and eye candy, check out

Judy L's Patchwork Times

and

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I'm Baaaaaack!

It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry! Life got in the way, and even though I'm in full-swing with lots of stuff, I read about Needle and Foot's Handmade Halloween Link Up and had to stop and take time to write this post.



I love Fall! I love the colors, the cool, crisp air, and the sound of the local high school marching band practicing every school morning and then performing at half-time during home football games. I love apple picking and making applesauce, and then watching my grandkids devour it. I love bon-fires and jumping in leaves. I love driving around and looking at the amazing artwork that pumpkin carving has become, and I love that my kids and grandkids love Fall.

If you feel the same way, join the link party and then come back on October 4th and be prepared for some eye candy. 

Happy weekend, Everyone!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Shelved Quilt Emerges

While still trying to organize the sewing room (in between "must do" projects) Saturday, I pulled out a bag that was nicely packed up and wondered to myself, "Mmmmmm, what's in here?"

Well this is what was inside...



This is Moccasin - a block of the month from Gen x Quilters.

I had started this and then for some reason, put it aside. When I opened the bag, all but the last month of blocks were made (the four blocks around the center Dresden Plate) and the setting squares, half square triangles, and rectangles. Good grief!

I started working on the missing blocks and then the storm hit and we lost power. I cut the pieces and crossed my fingers that we'd get power restored quickly. Of course I got busy with something else and when the power did return, I didn't get back to this.

Yesterday, I had a bunch of stuff to do in the morning and early afternoon, but I did finish the blocks and put this on the wall before another storm hit. I turned off the sewing machine when the power started flickering again.  We did lose power, but not for long. Unfortunately though, sewing was not going to happen because Jack and I had plans to go to the Firelands Symphony Orchestra Family Pops Concert last night. (The show was their annual summer affair, which is always a lot of fun and The Doo-Wah Riders - the guest group - was really quite good.)

So..... the plan is to get this sewn together by the end of the week.  (I have appointments today and I'm subbing Tuesday through Thursday.) I've already been thinking about the quilting for this and I have no idea what I'm going to do.

Check out what other quilters are working on today.


Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday, Quilts, Kids, and Chaos

It's Monday again and although I did make my rainbow quilt and posted about it last week, I've done very little sewing or computer work the past two weeks. I have not responded to people who commented on my recent posts and I apologize for that.

It was pretty chaotic here, as I had at least three grand kids here much of the past two weeks. My husband and I watched Nikki's three oldest kids while she and Zach dealt with some serious family medical issues. Usually when we watch the kids, I can do some sewing in the evening when they go to sleep, but this time it was different. They needed a bit more attention and quite honestly, I was emotionally and physically drained.

The kids all knew and that Bill, Zach's dad was very sick and that really upset them. They also missed their mom and dad and were all out of sorts because of the chaotic schedule they were following. The girls were excited about the new school year starting soon, but since they are going to a new school, they were also apprehensive. We had lots of laughter, but moments of sadness and tears as well.   

Bill was under hospice care when Bonnie (Zach's mom) was taken to the hospital for an emergency. She was in for a little over a week and because Bill's condition, she was released earlier than she really should have been. Bill passed away Wednesday and Bonnie will be returning to the hospital soon so she can have the surgery she needs.   

See what I mean? Crazy chaos!

Sewing always helps me relax and today I took some time to sew.

I was gifted a Koala sewing cabinet a couple of weeks ago and I had not had the opportunity to get it completely set up and ready to use. I needed a new acrylic insert because the one I had did not fit into this cabinet. Also, this cabinet is quite tall and my chair did not raise high enough to allow me to sew comfortably.

With the new insert ready and a new chair purchased, I was set to go. It felt soooooo good!



While doing some rearranging for the new cabinet, I opened up a tub of works in progress and pulled out 24 Friendship Star blocks. I have no idea when they were made, but I know it was a long time ago. I remember looking at these about a year ago and thinking that I needed to do something with them. The problem was that I had the 24 blocks and no coordinating fabrics. I had to think about what I was going to do, and obviously I didn't come up with anything because they went right back in the tub. I pulled them out again this past July 4th and thought I knew what I was going to do, but I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to use. So...back to the tub they went.

Today was going to be different. I pulled some fabrics that I thought would work, started some sketching and was excited to sit down and actually sew.


The rows are complete (not all pressed yet) and I'm ready to sew them together. I'm adding a couple of borders and this quilt top will be ready for quilting. My plan is to make it fit the requirements for a Quilt of Valor; and if I did my math correctly (I'm pretty sure I did), once the borders are added, it will be the perfect size. I love the fact that I'll be able to finish this UFO and that it will be used for a wonderful cause.  



Despite all of the stuff going on with Nikki and Zach's family, we did have some good times this past week. On Saturday we celebrated Avery's third birthday. Although Nikki and Zach weren't there, Jack and I took the kids to the party. (The kids wanted to go and Nikki and Zach really needed a day to rest and simply take a deep breath.) 

It was a small gathering, but it was a lot of fun. After eating and opening gifts, the kids were all playing in the back yard and were getting pretty darn hot and sweaty. Ty suggested that perhaps he should get out the sprinkler and let them run through it. It was a wonderful idea and the kids had a blast until they decided that they were not getting wet enough. Ty resolved that problem by getting a plastic tub, filling it with water and giving the kids buckets.


It was hilarious watching them dump water on themselves.


Of course they also chased each other.


They must have played outside for well over an hour before it started to rain. They were already wet and there was no lightening or thunder so we moved the party to the front of the house.


The kids played in the rain while the adults stayed nice and dry in the garage.

Oh the simple pleasures in life!

Schools starts today for Lynn, Ty, and the kids and I hope to get some sewing work done. I have some patterns to write up, but I think I'll run the sewing machine a while longer. I've missed it and it really does make life and its chaos a little easier for me.

What projects are on your design wall?

See what other quilters are working on today

Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

and

Monday, August 15, 2016

Design Wall Monday

We had a couple of stormy day over the weekend and it was kind of gloomy. We are fortunate that we don't have flooding, but I also didn't see a rainbow after the storms. Feeling the need for some color and brightness, I created my own rainbow.



Quick and easy! This puppy is ready to be quilted!

I have somewhat of a problem, in that I like to start new projects. Whether the project is one that I need to make for a class sample or one that I just really like and feel the need to start it (see the rainbow quilt above), I sometimes get sidetracked and end up with a bunch of unfinished projects or have multiple projects out at the same time. That may not sound like an issue or problem, but it can be for me. I tend to leave the works in progress out and then my sewing area looks like a disaster area. 

I am in "finish it up" mode and am happy to have spent some time this weekend organizing projects. Now I am not saying that I am only going to work on UFOs. Oh no! I plan to be working on a UFO while I am working on another project. I'll use the UFO as a leader/ender project or as a "I need a break and want to work on something different" project. Either way, I'm happy with my organization and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and I don't drop the ball.

Even though I am working on UFOs, I'm also trying to challenge myself to try new techniques. I tried some curved piecing when I worked on the Desire to Inspire Challenge projects and really enjoyed the technique; plus I was very happy with the outcome.



I decided to try it again; but this time I am adding some other piecing to the mix. This is a much more modern piece and I am struggling a bit with it. I'm not going to give up, I'm just not totally happy with it yet.  


My idea was to have this piece be like I was in a tree and the background (green) is all the leaves. The brown pieces are the tree branches. I was trying to portray the branches poking through a bunch of leaves, hence the green strips interspersed with the brown. I plan to do a fair amount of thread work to blend the branches better and to make the background look like leaves. Wish me luck!

The piece isn't quite as square as the picture above shows, but it's not quite this rectangular either. Either way, I think you can see what I'm doing.


I just realized that I didn't take a picture after I added a bit of sky to parts of the top of this. Oh well, I'll post that later. I've got this layered and I'm contemplating how I'm going to do the quilting.

What are you working on today?

Check out the quilting eye candy over at

Judy L's Patchwork Times

and


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stash!

Tomorrow is the last class for my latest Beginner's class and that got me thinking about the questions that I hear most often from beginner quilters. 

Of course there are always the questions about how to get an accurate 1/4" seam allowance, how to get rulers to stop slipping while cutting, how much fabric should be purchased when you simply like the fabric and have no specific project in mind, etc.

But lately I've also been asked about building a stash.

I remember when I started quilted, I didn't have much stash because I didn't know what to buy that wasn't for a specific project. What I did do though, was to buy extra for every project I made. I did that for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I was worried about making a mistake and wanted to have extra on hand in case I needed it. Another reason I bought extra was because I loved all of the fabric I bought and I just knew that I would use it in another project.

Well, I think we can all relate to that last statement. Not only did that fabric get set aside and not used (usually because although I still loved it, I didn't have enough for the project I wanted to make and I couldn't find it again so I bought a whole new bunch of fabrics). I justified my continual buying by telling myself that I could use the extra in a scrappy quilt. I have always been intrigued by scrappy quilts, but I was never confident enough to actually make a scrappy quilt. Without even realizing it, I was building my stash. And oh what a stash it is!

I have all kinds of fabric and although I have pretty much rectified that fear of scrappy quilts, I still have a very large stash. (I was going to insert a picture here of the stash but decided that I was a bit too lazy to actually take the picture.)

Here are some pictures of various quilts I've used that are from scraps. They are all made from scraps with some background yardage used for some of them. Although many of these are pictures of quilt tops only, I do have most of them quilted and already gifts.

Lots of strippy triangles were pieced for this quilt.


 Left over jelly roll strips were used for these two quilts.


I had some large chunks of solids just begging to be used. I have always liked this quilt!


This quilt is one in which I look at some of fabrics and wonder why I bought it. Seriously, there are some very strange fabrics in this quilt.)


This was my first Four Patch Galore quilt using scraps. I have always liked this quilt and had to think long and hard about giving it away.


I liked the other one so much that I made a new one and it's much larger than the last one. This was pieced entirely on my Featherweight and was perfect for me because it was new and I was just learning how to use it.


Another quilt that was made from left over jelly roll strips.


And this fun quilt used up a bunch of my bright and cheery fabric scraps.


I even made to many blocks and ended up with them on the back.


So, I am in the process of re-organizing my sewing room because I was gifted a Koala sewing cabinet and it just seemed like the right time to do it. This is giving me a wonderful opportunity to not only see what I have, but also to thin it down a bit. I have decided that if I don't love a particular fabric any longer and I've had it for a while (time frame is yet to be determined), I am going to find a project for it or find someone who does love it and give it to them. I just started this and so far I've kit up four or five projects AND given away fabric. That sure does feel good!
  
Because I certainly do not feel that I am an expert on fabric stashes, I started to look around on line and see what I could find. I am happy to report that I found Sherri at A Quilting Life and she is in the middle of a series about building your stash. So far, everything has been good and I'm learning as we go along.

In the first post, Sherri talked about Background and Low Volume Fabrics, while in the next post it was about all kinds of prints, including polka dots, gingham, checks, plaids, floral, small geometrical, and stripes.

The latest post is about Novelty Prints and I really enjoyed that.

Hop on over to Sherri's and spend some time reading. Afterwards, come on back here and let me know what you think.